Seattle chef Thierry Rautureau inspires so many cheerful descriptions -- jovial, affable, puckish -- they sometimes overshadow the equally genuine cooking chops that make him a national star, as well as the generosity that has him appearing at endless fund-raisers. He's in full form on all those counts for his second season on Top Chef Masters (he also competed two years ago), where he's trying to win $100,000 for Food Lifeline, a non-profit dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington.

The show's premiere Wednesday shows Rautureau in splendid Seattle style, chumming it up and apparently having a fabulous time, but also merrily snagging all the available salmon out from under his competitors during a market challenge. Here's an edited, condensed version of our recent conversation about the show.

To read the full story, go to The Seattle Times.

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